Posted inArts & Culture

Young Playwrights Festival

YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL, Pegasus Players. Culled from 650 scripts, this year’s crop of four new plays by Chicago teenagers is less conventional than in past years–which is not altogether a blessing. Most successful is Michael Myers’s exuberant staging of Damien Croteau-Chonka’s Outpatient Care, an absurdist expose of one harried invalid’s attempt to get into and […]

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Perils of Audience Participation

The Paper Sculpture Show at UIC Gallery 400, through February 28 Walter Fydryck at Gallery Chicago, through February 29 In an unusual exhibit at UIC Gallery 400, 29 artists or groups created projects for viewers to assemble, following instructions that require the use of scissors, X-Acto knives, tape, and/or rubber cement, all provided by the […]

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Girls Gone Wild

Pulp About Face Theatre at Victory Gardens Theater For some people, postwar lesbian pulp fiction is all about the covers–often reproduced in the form of posters, magnets, and greeting cards. And for good reason: the colors are lurid, the poses dramatic–they almost tell a story in themselves. On the cover of Sheldon Lord’s 1962 novel […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

My boyfriend just told me about “memes,” the theory of which apparently involves looking at ideas as viruses that invade the human brain. Strong memes replicate, causing the ideas to spread from person to person, and you wind up with things like religion and professional sports. Please, Cecil, what’s the story on this? –Susan P., […]

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Kate & Anna McGarrigle

At this point in their lives, you’d think multi-instrumentalist songbirds Kate and Anna McGarrigle would be able to line up a simple distribution deal without too much trouble: They’ve been hit songwriters (the Linda Ronstadt title track “Heart Like a Wheel” is Anna’s), musicians’ musicians, and objects of cult veneration since the mid-70s. Kate’s son, […]

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Russian Futurists

Twice now young Matthew Adam Hart, aka the Russian Futurists, has holed up in his Toronto apartment with a bunch of cheap keyboards and crawled out some months later with an album of wintry electronic pop: first 2000’s The Method of Modern Love, then 2002’s Let’s Get Ready to Crumble. Over gamely aggressive synthesized beats […]

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Dave Douglas Quintet

In a recent radio interview, trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas explained his plan to get focused like so: he’s going to stick to two or three projects at a time, instead of juggling the six or eight that have filled his schedule till now. Those range from the intimate and freewheeling Tiny Bell Trio (with […]

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Damage Control

DAMAGE CONTROL, Noble Fool Theater Company. Odd as it may sound, successful comedy relies on a strict moral code–even Terry Southern’s antiestablishment comedies of the 60s are built on a consistent worldview. Audiences have to know who to laugh with, who to laugh at, and why. Matt Tiegler in the hilarious first act of his […]

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North Side Theater Sampler

When the Daley administration launched the city’s “downtown theater district,” some observers–myself included–assumed that only the big-budget commercial houses and a few high-profile nonprofits like the Goodman would benefit. But cultural affairs commissioner Lois Weisberg has put together a crack team of programmers who are well aware that Chicago’s international reputation stems largely from the […]

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, at ComedySportz. Taking the Summer of Love as her inspiration, adapter-director Steph DeWaegeneer has created a goofy flashback version of Shakespeare’s sunniest comedy. In this family-oriented offering, tie-dyed fairy folk bestow literal flower power on mortal lovers, rubbing pansy juice on their slumbering eyelids. And by making Lysander an aimless lad […]

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Numbers

Good bands don’t need to reinvent themselves with every record to keep fans. San Francisco’s Numbers have toured for two years on more or less the same batch of stripped-down songs, and they’ve yet to wear out their welcome. (Their crowd doesn’t even seem to mind that they’ve released a handful of those tracks, like, […]